The spectrum allocated to CB Radios is divided into 40 channels, spanning frequencies from 26.965 to 27.405 MHz. These channels are typically separated by a spacing of 10 KHz.

Although these channels are accessible to everyone, certain channels have established purposes, which are indicated in the provided table. For instance, Channel 9 is reserved for emergency communications, while Channel 19 is primarily utilized by truck drivers.

If you wish to obtain specific information or share messages on these channels, you are encouraged to do so or simply switch over to listen. However, it’s important to note that truckers have their own unique terminologies and informal speech, and talkative visitors are not always warmly received. Therefore, if you decide to join Channel 19 as an outsider, be prepared and aware of the environment you are entering.

Channel Frequency Purpose
1 26.965 MHz General public use
2 26.975 MHz General public use
3 26.985 MHz General public use
4 27.005 MHz General public use but often used for off-roading activities
5 27.015 MHz General public use
6 27.025 MHz General public use
7 27.035 MHz General public use
8 27.055 MHz General public use
9 27.065 MHz Emergency communications
10 27.075 MHz General public use but often used by truck drivers for regional roads
11 27.085 MHz General public use
12 27.105 MHz General public use
13 27.115 MHz General public use but often used by marine
14 27.125 MHz General public use but often used as a walkie talkie comms
15 27.135 MHz General public use
16 27.155 MHz General public use + SSB
17 27.165 MHz General public + Truckers (Topic: North/south traffic)
18 27.175 MHz General public use
19 27.185 MHz Truckers topic + Truckers (Topic: East/west highway traffic)
20 27.205 MHz General public use
21 27.215 MHz General public use + Truckers (Topic: Regional roads)
22 27.225 MHz General public use
23 27.255 MHz General public use
24 27.235 MHz General public use
25 27.245 MHz General public use
26 27.265 MHz General public use
27 27.275 MHz General public use
28 27.285 MHz General public use
29 27.295 MHz General public use
30 27.305 MHz General public use
31 27.315 MHz General public use
32 27.325 MHz General public use
33 27.335 MHz General public use
34 27.345 MHz General public use
35 27.355 MHz General public use
36 27.365 MHz General public use + SSB
37 27.375 MHz General public use + SSB
38 27.385 MHz General public use + SSB + LSB
39 27.395 MHz General public use + SSB
40 27.405 MHz General public use + SSB

Why is it Limited to 40 Channels?

In simple terms, there are different operators assigned to frequencies by FCC other than those used by CB Radios.

Frequencies such as 27.430, 27.450, 27.470, 27.490, 27.510, and 27.530 MHz belong to the Business Radio Service, which falls within the VHF and UHF two-way radio bands.

The federal government controls frequencies from 27.540 to 28.000 MHz, while the U.S. military uses frequencies from 26.480 to 26.960 MHz.

The Civil Air Patrol, a part of the U.S.A.F., is assigned 26.620 MHz, although they primarily use VHF frequencies nowadays.

The 10-meter amateur radio (Ham) band spans from 28.000 to 29.700 MHz.

It is against the law to use frequencies or channels outside the CB range or within the 11-meter frequency range (above or below the 10 kHz spacing) and even the top CB radios are bound by those rules. This practice, known as freebanding, may seem tempting when CB frequencies are congested, and other frequencies appear quiet. However, I strongly advise against succumbing to that temptation and it is best to avoid freebanding altogether.

These frequencies are assigned to other operators, including the federal government, and engaging in such activities carries significant risks. Legal operators on these channels are vigilant in reporting unauthorized use, and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) takes strict action, including:

  • Issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability
  • Confiscating your radio equipment
  • Imposing fines of $10,000 or more
  • Suspending your FCC license(s)